Toronto Raptors Ink Extension With DeMar DeRozan

By Craig Ballard

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In the 2009 NBA draft, the Toronto Raptors selected DeMar DeRozan with the #9 overall pick. On Halloween they re-upped with DD to the tune of 4-years, $40 million. Only time will tell if this was a trick or a treat for the fans and organization.

I am very iffy on DeRozan, especially at that price tag. This looks like a re-up that rewards potential, rather that production. This is a player who has seen his play dip in many areas, and has shown only minuscule improvement in other areas.

DD is a horrible 3-point shooter (he makes two out of every ten attempts from downtown…yikes), and his overall field goal numbers have regressed every season. His road play last season was his worst as he shot just 38%.

The year-to-year improvements that you would hope for from a lottery pick have just not been on display. But there are things that do appear in the “Pros” column for extending DeRozan.

The NBA landscape at shooting guard is not great. Sure, we have special players (veterans) like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Manu Ginobili, and Joe Johnson but they are all 30+ years old. DeRozan is just 23, and there are not many young high-upside SGs in the NBA.

Monta Ellis is 26 ($11 mill per season with a player option for next season also at $11 mill). Eric Gordon is 23 and is a free-agent at seasons-end (he will make just over $5 mill this season). Marcus Thornton is 26 and will average $8 million per season for the next 3 years. We will look at James Harden (23) in a moment.

Not exactly a ton of young up-and-coming SG’s, so we see the Raps feel they have one and they wanted to lock him up. Potential over production (so far anyway).

The Raps brought Terrence Ross and Landry Fields into the mix, as they wanted to add depth to the wing positions, but they were not in a wait-and-see mode with those guys. They wanted to re-up with DeRozan to ensure he is a Rap for a long time. If this does work out (meaning DD does take steps forward to realize his potential) then we hope DD remembers this re-up when it is time for him to be a max player at 27 years old (assuming he gets to be that good…it is surely on the table at this point).

The Raptors have a next-to-impossible time of it when it comes to attracting free-agents. I have no idea why. Bryan Colangelo has been terrible as a GM, but T.O. is a first-class city. Plus the opportunity to have an entire country cheering for you, so hopefully this signing also sends a message that the Raps are ready/willing/able to take care of their players.

We saw Harden sign the same extension with the Houston Rockets. His re-up was a reward for performance at the NBA level, and Harden showed he was worthy of the re-up with a 37 point and 12 assist performance in a road win. DD was pedestrian-at-best in his first game after his re-up with 10 points in a 2-point home loss.

This extension makes DeRozan the 2nd highest paid Raptor (Jose Calderon is the highest paid this season, but is a free-agent at seasons end and likely will not return…Andrea Bargnani is the highest paid next season and going forward). We hope that sooner rather than later he establishes himself as a legit #2 guy on a (hopefully) playoff team.

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